Oscar Wilde in Naples

A great post below by e-Tinkerbell on Oscar Wilde’s brief, post-imprisonment sojourn with his lover and downfall Bosie Douglas in Naples, at the time noted as ‘a delightful winter residence for those fond of pleasure and gaiety’.

Picking the story up where the blog finishes, Wilde stayed in Naples after Bosie left:

sitting at the Caffè Gambrinus for an afternoon, hoping that some English tourist would recognize him and be charmed enough to pay for a few drinks. But most of the English in Naples at the time spurned him. A friend asked him if he could imagine spending the rest of his life in Naples. “No,” he replied, “the cooking is really too bad.”’

Shunned, deserted, alone, he finally left Naples, a city he perceptively described as both ‘evil and luxurious’ and unable to publish his work or find translators, for Paris where he would die, a penniless social outcast, two years later at the age of 46.


Many words can be used to describe Oscar Wilde’s genius and personality, but wise is not one of them, to be sure. Having spent two years in jail after having been charged for “gross indecency”, the echoes of the scandal were not over yet, so he decided that Paris would have been a better place to try and start over again. In those months in Paris he could work on his famous “Ballad of Reading Jail”, but the signs of hard labour on his body and the awareness of the terrible humiliation his family had suffered were not enough to make him ignore the reasons of his heart. Against his better judgement, if he had any, Wilde yielded to his desire to see again Lord Alfred Douglas, Bosie, the man who had brought him to a tremendous downfall, so the two decided to spent the winter in Naples…

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Naples Snowmageddon

Naples is struggling to cope with its heaviest snowfall for over 60 years, bemusing the locals, shutting the airport, closing schools and offices, and causing traffic chaos.

For a comparison of the conditions, below is the same scene in snowy Piazza del Plebiscito, separated by 62 years. The first famous image by Vittorio Pandolfi on the left is from 1956; the second on the right is by Fabio Cozzolino from 2018 who reproduces the original photograph, down to the car in the foreground. And the umbrellas in the background.

More modern pictures of Naples (and Rome) in the snow here.


H/T Corriere Della Sera


‘Paradise doesn’t exist’!


This well-executed, politically-minded graffiti made me smile when I snapped it on Saturday in a back alley near the Museo Diocesano in the Centro Storico in Naples.  The skeletal figures are taken from the workers on strike in the famous painting Il Quarto Stato – The Fourth Estate (1901) by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo which is in the Museo del Novecento, Milan.

More on Naples graffiti, love it or loath it, here.  There is even a Napoli Street Art Twitter feed you can follow here.


Naples from the Air

On a grey December morning in Naples, relax and enjoy a sunny flight over the lovely area of Bacoli, Baiae and the ‘lofty promontory‘ of Capo Miseno, on the north west corner of the Bay of Naples.

The Roman poet Horace apparently exclaimed ‘with rapture‘ that: ‘There is nothing in the world to compare to splendid Baiae‘ where the ‘various temptations on offer were as persuasive and seductive as the music of the sirens‘.

It’s a lot quieter today but well worth a visit out from Naples.

More Naples drone footage here.


‘You want to be American’!

A tongue-in-cheek, Neapolitan language song written by Renato Carosone in the late 1950s, Tu vuò fà l’americano is about a young wannabee who affects a contemporary American life style (sharp clothes, whisky and soda, rock-and-roll, baseball and Camel cigarettes) but who relies on his parents for money.  Seen as a satire on the process of Americanisation in post-war Italy, the lyrics most damningly accuse: ‘How can your girl friend understand you, if you speak to her in half American when you make love under the moon.  Where do you get off saying ‘I love you?’

Sung famously, in English, by Sophia Loren in ‘It Started in Naples‘, and also appearing in the Talented Mr Ripley, lyrics in both Neapolitan and English are below. Continue reading